Selling it all, to travel abroad, takes a fair amount of research and planning. One thing I kept pushing to the bottom of my to-do list was figuring out the cell phone situation.
We had many conversations around options because there were lots of considerations. First and foremost was being frugal about it. After all, we left AT&T last year for TING which we love 💗 -> The slash in our cell phone bill was dramatic. Yes, we didn’t use them as much when out and about, and that was a benefit. Being more mindful in the car, with family, etc because one isn’t always looking at a smart phone is a boon to one’s health and living experience. It made me a better mom. :)
In past years, digital nomads frequently recommended going with T-Mobile because they had a decent International Plan.
SIM Cards are all the rage now.
More recently, people are simply recommending that you land in the country of destination and buy a pre-paid SIM card for that country which should be cheaper than (and easy to do) sticking with your previous plan, like T-Mobile in the United States.
However, we still had a challenge.
We wanted to keep our cell phone numbers active for family and two-factor authentication security when logging into certain accounts. When you get a new SIM card in a different country, you get a local number for that country or region. This is good because it makes communication in that country easier and cheaper, but it’s hard because you lose your old number. True, you could just constantly update the various logins you have with a new cell number every time you change the SIM in a new country, but that’s a pain, too.
One solution is to keep the old SIM card AND get a new one.
Then, switch them out as needed. A bit of a pain to be sure, but a solution. This way, I can keep the TING account active with my old number and have a SIM card for the new country when needed. The downside is keeping the TING account alive means paying for it. (There are other ways to park a number, for cheaper, so you don’t lose it, but it was more than I could take on. I’ll look into that later, after we know more.) For now, TING is pretty cheap and seems a reasonable solution.
All that said, we’re going to do something else though.
This is probably a bit silly, given my intense passion for minimalism, but I happen to have two smart phone devices. I have my iPhone and a Note 3 by Samsung. There was a time when I dumped iPhone for the Android experience, but later went back to iPhone. I just left the Note 3 in a drawer… until now. It’s a bigger device so has a nice screen size for reading kindle and having movies etc on it.
I decided that I would keep my iPhone on TING and use that on WiFi exclusively, thereby allowing me to keep my current cell phone number. I will bring the Note 3 and get an in-country SIM card for that and use it exclusively for in-country communication and emergency surfing the web when WiFi is not available and we’re out exploring.
Greg has a very very very old iPhone that he still uses today. He bought a newer one this year because he knew the other one would die eventually. Well, he decided to keep both phones, too. He will keep the old with TING and the old number so he can communicate with USA and have two-factor authentication easily. Then, he will get a SIM card for the new iPhone to use the same way I’m using my Note 3.
Overkill? Yeah, probably.
Less headache, at least initially? Yeah, probably. I’m probably missing a consideration, but we’ll survive this way for at least the next month or two as we get our digital nomad feet wet.
Once we’re in Europe we’ll get a better idea of what’s needed. I’m hoping I get down to one smart phone only and hope the same for him. Until then, I’ll take advantage of the extra screen which could be used for entertainment.
If you have any suggestions or advice, I welcome it via Twitter! Http://Twitter.com/KristensRaw 🙌🏼